KARACHI  - The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Thursday constituted a special bench to hear a case over ‘no-go areas’ in Karachi.

A five-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry comprising of Justice Jawad S Khawaja, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain, Justice Amir Hani Muslim and Justice Ijaz Afzal Khan will begin the proceedings over the news reports pertaining to no-go areas in the country’s financial hub at Karachi registry on Friday (today). The court has also issued a notice to Sindh Advocate General to file a report in this regard.

Meanwhile, Yasin Azad, counsel for former Karachi City Nazim Naimatullah Khan, Thursday informed the Supreme Court that some 216 `immunity plots’ were occupied by encroachers in the port city.

The three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry resumed the hearing of case pertaining to encroachments in Karachi.

The counsel said that none of the plots had been claimed back from the encroachers even after the Supreme Court’s directives of January 16, January 24 and February 20.

On this, the Chief Justice questioned Farooq Naseem, counsel for the City Government Karachi, that why the matter was still pending even after the court’s directives.

Naseem replied that 112 out of 216 plots were in the most sensitive areas while at some plots mosques and Imambargahs had been constructed.

Yasin Azad stated that they had no objection over any mosque or Imambargah, however, illegal construction without following any map always came under encroachment.

Azad presented pictures of all 216 plots before the court.

However, Naseem stated that he had already filed item-wise reply which was presented to the bench.

Former City Nazim Naimatullah in his petition had blamed that the respondents were deliberately trying to prolong the case for the last three to four years as they were not interested in removing the encroachments. He levelled some allegations against Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), but the CJ directed him to abstain from doing so.

During the course of proceedings, Senior Director Municipal Saqlain admitted that 60 per cent land of the Karachi city was encroached upon.

However, out of that, 80 per cent encroachment had been legalised by different governments.

He further apprised the court that a committee had been constituted to probe the matter of encroachments and till now 116 notices had been served to illegal encroachers.

Later, the court directed Zulfiqar Ali Shah, member Board of Revenue IT to prepare satellite visions and imagery maps in respect of properties in Karachi within three days.

The court also directed both the parties to collect the material pointing out the encroachment areas and submit it in the Registrar Office on April 15. The case was adjourned till the fourth week of April.